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Hispanic Support of Same Sex Marriage Up Since 2003

A majority of Hispanic Catholics support same sex marriage, while Hispanic Protestants are split on the issue, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported in a survey released Wednesday.

The nonpartisan institute found 56 percent of Hispanic Catholics it surveyed support same sex marriage, comparable to white Catholics, 58 percent. Among Protestants, Hispanic support for gay marriage is 46 percent, 62 percent for white mainline Protestants and 27 percent among white evangelical protestants, the survey found.

Overall, Hispanic support is up from 35 percent in 2003, when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, to 53 percent in 2013, similar to support among whites, which rose from 32 percent to 55 percent. Among non-Hispanic blacks, the support rose from 28 percent to 39 percent. Fifty-three percent of all Americans supported same sex marriage last year, up from 32 percent a decade earlier.

The survey's researchers found personal connections affected support.

“Few changes over the last 20 years have had a more profound effect on support for same sex marriage than the increasing number of people who now have a gay friend or family member,” said Daniel Cox, the institute’s research director. Americans with a gay or lesbian friend rose from 22 percent in 1993 to 65 percent today, Cox said.

The Supreme Court struck down the anti-same sex marriage Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Seven in 10 Millenials support same sex marriage, the survey said. About a fifth of U.S. Millenials are Hispanic, according to Pew Research Center.

The institute surveyed 4,509 adults over 18 by telephone between Nov. 12 and Dec. 8, 2013. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points. Some interviews were done in Spanish.